Talking About Weight

What do you do when someone brings up their weight? Immediately offer advice or describe what has worked for you? Just listen and provide support and a place free of judgement? Jump into your own weight woes? I'm genuinely curious...But in my opinion we all need to handle feeling of weight insecurity with a bit more compassion and a bit less advice and comparison. It's no secret the my body has changed after graduating, moving to a new city, and starting a new job. I'm not ecstatic about the changes and don't always feel 100% comfortable in my body, but I'm trying to accept this as my "right now body." That being said some days I struggle more than others and reach out to friends or loved ones for support. From these experiences and my own training here's my advice to you all.

1. Just listen. And show that you are truly listening. Do not interrupt until they're done. And don't be distracted (put your phone down!) Talking about weight and being uncomfortable in one's body is not easy. Ask open ended questions about how they feel about x and y or what they think has changed recently or has been a contributing factor. This shows that you want to know more to provide support.

2. Do NOT give advice. Unless they ask for it, of course. This is the biggest mistake. I'm a dietitian and I know tips and tricks to manage weight, but that's the last thing I want to hear when I'm just having an off day in my body. And most people don't want to hear tips and tricks, they simply want to be heard and have their feelings validated. It's tough to feel uncomfortable in your body and accept that this is where you're at for right now. If someone wants help they'll ask for it. If someone wants advice they'll ask for it. Personally, I bring up feeling uncomfortable but also know deep down that I am at this weight because I am too tired to say no to chocolate and wine (nor should I have to) and I'm too tired to increase the amount of exercise I do. Therefore, I don't want advice. I just want someone to acknowledge this is a hard time of my life and my weight is different because of that.

3. Don't make this about you. Your friend or family member is confiding in you. This is not a time to bring up your own challenges because everyone is different and they don't need another person to compare themselves to. Maybe you can add a comment at the end such as "I understand what I you're going through because I've experienced similar emotions" but leave it at that. Then it's more of a statement of "you're not alone."

And now I'll leave you with this:

It's okay to not feel 100% comfortable in your own body. It's okay if you don't love your body, either. But when you work towards accepting your body as it is right now and acknowledging your emotions you're more likely to treat your body with respect. I understand how you feel if you don't like how certain clothes fit anymore or you just can't seem to say no to a relaxing glass of wine most days of the week. If you don't feel like you can make changes right now because you're stretched a little too thin, I hear you. And I'm also going to say then now is not the time to make a change. Now is the time to listen to your body and ride this period out. Who knows how long it will take but forcing your body to change when it's telling you where it's meant to be right now won't do any bit of good. Accept you body and soon you'll start to love it. And if someone comes to you to talk, please just listen.